The Battle of Britain

Period: July 10 - October 31, 1940

Quote: Winston Churchill (June 1940): The battle of France is over. The battle of Britian is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the future of Christian civilization.

After France had capitulated Hitler expected that Britain would initiate a peace treaty. Nothing was less true. The British did not contemplate peace. Hitler could do nothing more but to attack and try to force England to give up. Only then could it be guaranteed that the Royal Air Force would not attack the Germans on the mainland, and neither could the Americans use Britain as an operating base.

If the Germans could get troops on British soil, Britain's capitulation would be a matter of time. But to do this, they first had to cross the Channel or the North Sea and that was a huge problem. The British navy was much stronger than the German navy.

Daarom bedacht de Duitse legerleiding operatie Seelöwe ('Sea Lion'): they would bomb the British warships from the air. But that was only possible if the German Air Force could destroy the Royal Air Force (RAF).

This battle is known as the Battle of Britain and began on July 10 with the battle for the Channel. From August British cities were bombed, resulting in many civilian casualties. As a reprisal the RAF bombed Berlin. The Germans responded to this by heavily bombing London.

After months of fighting, the Germans were unable to bring the RAF to its knees. In late October the German air raids stopped and Hitler turned his attention to the invasion of Russia. In hindsight this was one of his biggest mistakes. As Britain had not been invaded it could serve as a base for the US military.

German Heinkel He 111 bombers
Source: Public domain

An English vigilante is on the lookout for German aircraft
Source: Public domain

US film about the Battle of Britain

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